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This article is about the unit in Age of Empires III. For the similar unit in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors, see Petard (Age of Empires II).

Siege warrior that dies when it attacks buildings, but does lots of damage.
—In-game description

The Petard is an infantry siege unit in Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs that can be trained at the Artillery Foundry once the Fortress Age is reached. Similar to the Age of Empires II counterpart, it is a suicide unit that can deal massive damage to buildings.

Petards are available to the United States and European civilizations except John Black's Mercenaries (Act II: Ice campaign) and Knights of St. John (Act I: Blood campaign).


Unction boosted regular Petards with all available upgrades are capable of inflicting 3257 damage versus buildings in a single explosion. They will also possess 393 hit points, 4.40 speed and double (12) their usual melee attack power. However their hand attacks are still ineffective in actual combat.

Russian Petards can cause up to 2800 damage with the "Ransack" Home City Card.


The Petard is automatically upgraded in the Industrial Age and Imperial Age.

Industrial age up.png +25% hit points and attack
Imperial age up.png +50% hit points and attack

Civilization differences[]

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Buildings
Weak vs. Units, especially cavalry and artillery
Hit points Thin Red Line.png Thin Red Line (+20%, British only)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Speed Military Drummers.png Military Drummers (+10%)
Tillys Discipline.png Tilly's Discipline (+20%, Germans only)
Inca Road-building.png Quechuan Mountaineering (+20%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Sight Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Creation speed Standing Army.png Standing Army (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Penalties Thin Red Line.png Thin Red Line (-25% speed, British only)
Coffee Trade.png Coffee Trade (-10% speed, Dutch only)
Tillys Discipline.png Tilly's Discipline (+10% cost, Germans only)

Home City Cards[]


  • When the Petard attacks a building, it shows that the soldiers who carry the bomb will attempt to escape from the explosion, but do not succeed and die.
  • Despite the model featuring two men carrying the bomb, the Petard only uses a single population slot.
  • Although Petards are excellent for destroying buildings, they are very weak at fighting other units by using hand combat. Petards cannot blow up on units to kill them, making them defenseless to any soldiers.


The term petard first emerged during medieval times, referring to a small and notoriously unstable explosive device similar in concept and usage to the modern grenade. The name probably derives from the Latin "petar," which means, "to break wind" (an example of the military mind's wry sense of humor.)

To be "hoisted by one's own petard" is a phrase commonly thought to mean something along the lines of "being hung with your own rope"; or, to stay true to the actual context of an explosive device, to be blown up by your own bomb. The saying is derived from Shakespeare's Hamlet. The bard wrote:

"For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
Hoist with his own petar"